A study of situational circumstances related to Spain's occupational accident rates in the metal sector from 2009 to 2019

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The metal sector encompasses a variety of economic activities, such as metallurgy and the manufacturing of metallic elements. These activities represent great diversity in production processes. Worker-related characteristics are particularly important in these processes and the accident rate. In view of the metal sector's importance and that the latest annual report (2019) reveals the sector to be among the ten sectors with Spain's highest accident rates, the purpose of this study is to explore the evolution of work accidents in the metal-mechanical sector in Spain for the period of 2009–2019 and to analyse the relationship between the associated variables. Data for this study come from occupational accident reports, which are required to be sent to the relevant administrative bodies using the Spanish Delt@ (electronic declaration of injured workers) computer system. The study variables were selected from the official occupational accident data and classified into four groups: personal, business, material, and time period. The relationships between severity and other variables were explored via contingency tables in which the chi-squared value (χ2) was calculated. This study shows a slight improvement in the accident rate over the last decade, but a high percentage of serious and fatal accidents in the Spanish industrial sector remains. The Monday effect, meal breaks, and being near retirement age are the most important factors influencing the number of serious accidents in this sector.